seller update

eBay's Spring Seller Update 2019 | @dailyrefinement Video Recap

Dina Taitelbaum
September 11, 2019

Thoughts on eBay's recent Seller Update 2019..

For this Seller Update, we're happy to introduce Chris aka @dailyrefirement who just became our brand ambassador!

Chris has been helping eBay sellers reach their goals with his dedicated online presence, selling tips and continuous analysis of his own selling experience. As Chris shared on his website, "I document my life and business journeys earning a full-time selling physical products on platforms like eBay, Poshmark, Mercari and Amazon FBA. My singular goal is to make 100 sales a day. "So without further ado, here's some thoughts on eBay's most recent Seller Update..

To make it easier for you to follow, here's a full transcript on this video:

"What’s up everybody! Welcome to our episode of dailyrefinement my name is Chris. I make a full time living selling stuff online, on websites like eBay, Amazon, Mecari, Poshmark and I want to share with you today the 2019 eBay Seller Spring Update and my take on it and what I think you guys should do to adjust your business accordingly.

The first thing is that they’ve made some reconciliations with the sales tax for state collection. That’s not really something we need to worry about but there’s been some improvements there. They also adjusted the SellerHub to allow you to download reports and adjust listings easier in the SellerHub - thats great!

They’ve also gotten rid of fixed price listing durations that are not Good 'Til Cancelled and I think that’s important for people who sell one-off items, which by the way is the minority people on eBay. Most of eBay is replenishable brand new items and those people generally use Good 'Til Cancelled already, so it’s not going to affect their business too much. That’s more than 80% of listings on eBay so it sort of forces you to take a deer look at your listings that are not sold and continuously charging you each month because they want to make money on the final value fee. I’m not in the camp of people that think that eBay is just making money on insertion fees, that’s kind of like a tax for people who don’t know how to sell, sure, but that’s not where the majority of their money comes from.

They want people to sell their items and so they’re double dipping. They make money from people who never sell their items, they make money from people (the majority of their money), from people who actually sell stuff so make sure if you have aging inventory to go in there and change it because it’s going to continuously charge you now if it doesn’t sell.

Next, is the Terapeak integration and that’s gonna help people understand pricing. You may have noticed that in your listing it may say “you’re the lowest price on eBay” or it may give you some averages or some trends to watch out for, I think it’s really important. I have been a fan of Terapeak for a long time.

I like to learn keywords, I like to learn pricing, I like to learn how big the market is. This is where I was talking about each month searches for let’s say, for example, pants - it’s like 20,000 searches for a certain kind of pants vs. Nintendo has millions of searches each month. So if you saw in a category millions of searches it’s easier to have a higher sell-through rate, generally, because there’s more traffic but here’s also more competition.

The one thing that has high competition and low market is generally clothes, especially tops. You can get an item that sells retails for $90 and not be able to get 20 yards for it because there’s so many people selling that exact same item at a ridiculas discount so you’re competing with a lot of people for a low margin. That’s where you want to stay away from, in fact, what we’re looking for is a high search but low traffic, I’m sorry, a high search below inventory category like, for a example, a mantel clock.

I learned this from Holly (shoutout to @thriftloveG), we were thrifting and she found a mantel clock and I think 80 of them sell per month and there’s only a hundred of them for sale, so that’s a great market because it's really high in demand but there's not very many people selling it.

That’s what you wanna look for and use Terapeak for, in my opinion, if you’re selling one-off items like that. If you’re selling replenishable items, you want to sell in categories that sell a ton of a certain thing like, for example, let's say, you’re selling watch batteries for a specific watch that’s a #1 seller on Amazon. You probably gonna do quite well if you can get the right supplier so definitely used Terapeak for pricing. eBay bought Terapeak, I think they're moving them from Canada to San Jose, which is huge, that means we could be able to give us sellers more information on how to actually sell things.

So, this is my take on eBay’s future and why Devon is still the CEO and how I think you should navigate these changes. More or less eBay is the same. If Devon was brought in as a CEO to make marketplace changes, he would be fired because the marketplace is essentially the same.

It hasn’t been that much different - it’s still not easy to understand promoted listings, you’re still guessing. There’s a trending rate, which is very scary. That’s like an adjustable rate for your house, you don’t know what’s gonna go up so you’re constantly trying to adjust the look for better rates or different strategies, that’s very annoying.

I think it’s really good for consumer sellers. If you’re selling one Bose stereo system and you want to rank really high and get rid of it - do 20% promoted listings. Sure, but as a business seller that’s directly coming out of your margins and it’s difficult. In fact, not only do we have to spend a lot of time figuring out if that works or not, we have a give up our margins. So it’s like, paying more for the same visibility as just pricing your item right, with a good title. In some cases that’s no longer enough. You can’t just have the best item at the best price, which is why Amazon is focused on making it really really easy for customers to find what they’re looking for.

I think it’s exactly the same for an eBay buyer to find something on eBay. It hasn’t changed, hasn’t gotten better, they’ve made some expensive changes that make it look different but as far as usability for finding the item, it seems the same to me.

In fact, when you see the highest ranked items, they use titles like “Radon Mug - Awesome”, right? And “awesome” obviously doesn't rank, they’re just using the “Randon Mug”, which Google likes - short title, concise, relevant, good click-through rate. That’s really good but that's not what eBay promotes, in fact, they let you use 80 characters in title, which is confusing. Why allow you to use 80 if really in converts better at a shorter title? That’s a little bit fuzzy to me but what I will say is that eBay is more profitable than it ever has been and I think that’s why Devon is still a CEO but the other executives are now gone.

Elliot, the big hedge fund, wrote a letter saying, hey, we want you guys to change five different things, get rid of StubHub, focus on marketplace improvement. If they want to focus on marketplace improvement, in my opinion, Scott Cutler and Bob Coupons those guys are great executives but not for marketplace improvement.

Marketplace improvement is making it easier to buy and sell on the platform and I didn’t really feel that as a seller, and eBay didn’t announce this and these are two ridiculously huge executives. In fact, Bob is in charge of the whole seller side and there’s been no eBay release of him departing. No release of bringing in somebody that’s more aimed at the marketplace improving and, of course, there’s so many variables involved with it but there’s some simple changes that I feel like they could make to make it easier to buy and sell. And just get rid of all of this guessing that sellers are doing every single day, we’re trying to figure out what’s going on.

So, I’m gonna step out there and just say if I was CEO, this is the change that I would make. I would just make it 15% flat across for fees. They want to move the new payment processor, great. Don’t even talk about the new payment processor - just do it, don’t talk about it. I have a 15% flat fee and then nobody, out of all your millions of sellers don’t have to waste 10 hours a week trying to figure out how the algorithm works for pricing. In horrible, eye-bleeding sessions, trying to figure out what your eBay bill is when you could just simply do how much revenue minus 15% and be done.

The amount eBay charges would go up, the overall revenue the eBay makes would go up, the stock market would go up and then sellers like myself, I would rather just deal with the flat fee, I would just figure it out.

It gives a level playing field to everybody and there’s none of this weird reconciliation that’s impossible if you do a lot of volume, you can’t do line-by-line accounting. But you can on every other website every other website you can figure out.. actually, that’s not true. On Amazon, you can’t. Amazon is difficult also but precisely, just have a flat fee. If eBay is gonna move towards more being consumer to consumer base which is what it seems like it is, why not make it easier for consumers?

If I was trying to market eBay for new sellers, I wouldn’t say - hey, you know what? We have 5 different kinds of return policies that you need to learn about. 30 different ways you need to ship and your eBay bill, there’s no way that you could understand it without some professional help. That is not a good way to present how to sell on eBay. You have no idea what you net per item, that’s very very odd to me that they haven’t changed that and that bugs me.

Hopefully, the next person that comes in from marketplace is like - okay, let’s make it easy for sellers and buyers to understand how this works - that would be great. I think the best new sellers are buyers, right? That’s why you see, like, obviously Poshmark is a drop in the bucket and that’s the attitude when you go to eBay and you talk about how different platforms are doing things. They just blanket statement say - they’re small so we don’t care. They’re not really like - oh actually, let me take a step back and say they just introduced the offer to “like” a feature. I think that’s more widespread now, so the people who watch your item you can now send them an offer. That’s an improvement but again it’s more C2C based, if you’re a business seller with a lot of items it’s hard individually do that and again, that’s money straight out of your pocket you’re giving to them. When you’re giving up the margin by giving somebody a better deal, right? You should just sell if you have the best price and the best product.

So right now, where I see eBay moving is they are moving towards making it a better marketplace, otherwise why would these two executives be gone. They are more, in my opinion, “numbers guys”, they’re just figuring out overall how to make eBay more profit. That’s great but i think that they should focus on making the marketplace better. They still have the most traffic for used items and they’re just riding that train because they already are established, they haven’t really made the website better.

That’s just my opinion and I’m not saying that they don’t spend billions of dollars making these finer tune things that I can’t see on the inside. Sure, but as far as the buyer goes, I’m confused because the way that the title is written, the way the items specifics are, are somewhat redundant, right?

So you have just a lot of duplication, and a lot of errors, and also, the product catalog - there is a different product for every single condition of the item on eBay. I think originally, Devon had said something like, we’re gonna have multiple buy boxes so like multiple different conditions of something - that’s hard to actually execute right. I don’t know how you’d do that and make it easy for the buyer to understand that there’s multiple variations of the same exact thing.

And then they have “sell one like this” but they don’t have “sell this exact thing”. As a seller, when you trying to sell an item that already sold on eBay, you actually go in and you have to re-enter the UPC code when you’re entering a brand new item, which is very frustrating because you should just be able to say, I’m selling this exact item and it prepopulates everything except the price.

They’re not quite there yet and I think that’s where they’re trying to go. Hopefully they get there soon but ye, I just feel like there’s so many people on eBay that would just benefit from a flat-fee structure and a flat way of doing things so we don’t have to spend 10 hours a week trying to figure out the system, we could spend those ten hours looking for better products, pricing a little better maybe, if we have the ability to do higher volume.

So that’s just my take guys, the seller update is not that big of a deal, in my opinion hopefully, you guys can make some minor tweaks especially if you are not used to Good 'Til Cancelled. My recommendation is to set a specific time every month or every week when you’re going to adjust listings.Don’t let them get stale because they’re gonna continuously cost you more money.

Last on that, I’ve moved out of my house now so as far as the storage goes, I need my items to sell in 5 months or less. I’m hoping that each item in my storage cost me 10 cents a month or less to store so it’s 50 cents I’m tacking on to my bottom line. That’s going to be the cost of storage so if it’s longer than 5 months, it’s charging me 10 cents every single month just to store and it’s also charging me 10 cents per month to the listing fee. Between 3-10 cents depending on what your store is on eBay.

Hopefully that’s useful guys! If you like it please like, comment and subscribe. Let me know what you’re working on let me know how I can make my channel better. Take care guys."

We'd like to thank Chris for his insight and analysis of this eBay's Spring Seller Update.

Follow @dailyrefinement on his social channels to get daily insight and tips for selling online:

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